The 18 Most Iconic Moments That Made 2018 Into 20gayteen

2018 is coming to an end. It’s been a year full of ups and downs for the LGBT community (and the rest of the world, to be honest), but let’s focus on 18 iconic pop culture moments that made 2018 into 20gayteen.

  1.     Hayley Kiyoko coming up with the term “20gayteen”

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Thank you, Lesbian Jesus.

  1.     Miss Vanjie… Miss Vanjie… Miss Vanjie!!!

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Season 10 of Rupaul’s Drag Race was good, but would have been nothing without MISS VANJIE!!

  1.     Brockhampton releasing gay merch. Literally.

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It obviously all sold out in minutes.

  1.     Queer Eye blessing our screens

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And it’s already been renewed for a third season. The power of the Fab Five!

  1.     Janelle Monaé’s Pynk. That’s all.

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An ode to vaginas? We have to stan.

  1.     Britney Spears performing at Brighton Pride

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Moving was impossible and getting to Brighton was a struggle, but at least the Queen herself was there.

  1.     First ever openly gay K-Pop idol’s debut

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For those of you who don’t know, K-Pop idols have to follow some very strict rules. Most of them aren’t even allowed to date, never mind be openly homosexual. Holland is Korea’s first openly gay idol, and he’s releasing music without the support of any of the main entertainment companies. He made his debut with a song called I’m Not Afraid, which is quite fitting.

  1.     America’s first professional transgender boxer won his first pro fight

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Patricio Manuel was competing as a woman for a decade, and after coming back to the ring as a male boxer, he won against Hugo Aguilar. Here’s to many more wins!

  1.     We finally had a MASSIVE teen movie in cinemas, which was about a gay love story.

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Yaaaassss Love, Simon!

  1.  Courtney Act won Celebrity Big Brother.

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And then became the host of The Bi Life! What a queen.

  1.  SO many celebrities came out.

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Alyson Stoner, Reece King, Kevin McHale, Amandla Stenberg, Brendon Urie, Kehlani and so many more.

  1.  Speaking of Kehlani… Our queer angel is having a baby. And the dad’s bisexual!

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The singer surprised everyone with her pregnancy in October.

  1.  There was a lesbian wedding in a mainstream cartoon!

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Steven Universe’s creator knew it would be important for queer representation and visibility—and aren’t Ruby and Sapphire the cutest?

  1.  Harry Styles’ world tour

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He went on tour and spent pretty much every night dancing with rainbow flags, showing his support to the community, and saying things such as, “I mean we’re all a little bit gay, aren’t we?”

  1.  Queer superheroes!!

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Hi, Teenage Warhead and Yukio. You’re cute.

  1.  She-Ra and the Princess of Power

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Netflix’s She-Ra reboot features a same-sex couple, and they’re canon! What else would you expect from highly-acclaimed queer showrunner Noelle Stevenson?

  1.  The number of LGBT characters on TV reached a record high

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*20gayteen intensifies*

  1.  Pansexual became one of Merriam-Webster’s words of 2018

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If this doesn’t define 20gayteen, what does?

What a ride. What was your favourite moment of 20gayteen? And are you ready for 20biteen?

Violence in Video Games: A 2018 Look at “The Last of Us”

Let me start by posting this Forbes article that was published last year.

The gist of Erik Kain’s article—and of many other video game reviewers’ articles that have been published since the release of The Last of Us II trailer last year—is that the first trailer for newest instalment of the mega-hit post-apocalyptic video game is much too violent.

First off, I think the author’s worries about the tone of the new game are completely founded. The Last of Us is a game about learning to love and trust those around you after going through a terrible loss. It is emotional and devastating in the best way possible, and The Last of Us II seems like it is going to be much darker than the first.

Neil Druckmann, the game director for The Last of Us, said that the next instalment is a “…story about hate.” This doesn’t instil confidence that the game will have a happy tone. However, I feel that the majority of these articles miss the mark when discussing the violence of this game series.

The Last of Us is a game about parasites that infect humanity and turn them into cannibalistic monsters. Many, MANY main characters die (SPOILER: one of them is the main character’s tween daughter about 15 minutes into the game), and the game has a plethora of extremely violent imagery.

It is by no means a happy game.

So when I read articles condemning the violence in the most recent The Last of Us II trailer, I can’t help but think that the context of this series was simply not taken into consideration.

For instance, Julia Alexander’s recent article for polygon.com (Stop Using Violence To Sell Your Game), is a well written discussion about violence against women in video games. However, I see the newest trailer for The Last of Us as being empowering to women—not another example of misogynistic game play.

The only characters that have any lines in this trailer are women. This trailer, now that most of the characters have been named, passes the Bechdel Test (see Hollywood executives? It’s not that hard).

The main character is ripped. Like completely shredded. She doesn’t exist in this post apocalyptic world to be feminine eye candy for the male protagonists. She is realistically shaped to survive in the world she is in. However, who is she saved by? Not by a man, but by two young women (who are not white, but that deserves a whole other conversation about race in video games).

One is androgynous, another example of what real women can look like, and the other is defiant even in the face of defeat. Yes, her arm being broken is shown in graphic detail, but she gets right back up and kills two of her captors despite this. The women are subjected to violence because the world of The Last of Us is violent.

But are they shown to be victims? Do they cower in the face of violence like so many female movie and video game protagonists do?

No. They show that women, no matter if they are a villain, a pair of badass saviours, or a mysterious anti-hero, can survive an apocalyptic world just as well as any man.

We see the survival instincts of Tess, the fortitude of Ellie, and the spirit that makes The Last of Us such a beloved game. So, no—I am not worried about the tone of the next instalment of this series, because from what has been released so far, I can see what makes The Last of Us unique: the fight all people have—no matter their gender, age, race, or sexuality—to keep their humanity and stay alive in an incredibly violent world.

Keep an eye out for the new Last of Us game coming out in 2019!

The 10 Female Artists You Should Be Listening To

There may be a few successful women in music at the moment, but there still aren’t enough. And, let’s be honest, some of them suck anyway.

Here’s a list, in no particular order, of ten female artists and female-fronted bands you may not know, but you should definitely listen to. Oh, and they are all proud feminists and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community too, which we’re always here for.

King Princess

King Princess, born Mikaela Straus, is a 19 year old singer-songwriter from New York, who’s signed to Mark Ronson’s label. She’s smart, funny and incredibly talented. She’s also in the longlist for the BBC Sound of 2019 award (previously won by artists such as Adele and Sam Smith), so you may want to check her out before she takes over the world. Listen to 1950, which is probably her most popular song – Harry Styles even tweeted the lyrics to it!

Billie Eilish

Even if you don’t know Billie Eilish, you know Billie Eilish. The 16 year old (yes, 16) has the voice of an angel, and sells out venues in minutes. She is loved by big stars, such as Ellie Goulding and Julia Roberts, and hopefully will be loved by you too: listen to her latest single when the party’s over, but be careful, the video might freak you out a little.

Greentea Peng

She’s just so awesome. As you can guess from her name, Greentea Peng is a London girl. She has a beautiful jazzy voice, and looks too cool to be real. If you’re into chill music (or are a stoner), she’s the girl for you. Check out Moonchild, and if you’re not into trippy music videos, just focus on her voice.

Kim Petras

Kim Petras is the pop princess we all need. Although she is mostly known for being transgender and having transitioned at a young age, she makes some pretty great music too. Make your Y2K music video dreams come true and check out I Don’t Want It All.

PVRIS

PVRIS (resist the urge to call them puh-vuh-ris – it’s pronounced Paris) are a female-fronted rock band from Massachusetts. Their sound is unique and lead singer Lynn Gunn has an incredibly powerful voice, which sounds exactly the same when she sings live. Listen to White Noise and keep an eye out for them if you’re planning on going to Reading or Leeds Festival!

Willow Smith

You obviously all know Willow Smith. But, forgetting Whip My Hair, did you know she makes good music? She doesn’t release enough of her own, but is featured in a few of her brother’s songs. If you want a taste of what she sounds like, listen to Jimi, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Rico Nasty

Rico Nasty is a 21 year old rapper, mother, and legend in the making. Her music will make you feel like a boss, and she already has six mixtapes out, so your playlist will be on fire. Rico knows she’s weird and lives for it, which should only inspire you to be yourself as well. Check out her song Countin Up, but be careful: it will be stuck in your head for hours.

Yonaka

Yonaka are an alternative band from Brighton. They just toured Europe and the UK with Bring Me The Horizon, and will share a stage with them again at All Points East festival in May. Don’t worry, they don’t sound anything like BMTH, but hopefully the band will bring them the attention that they deserve. Listen to Creature and go wild.

Princess Nokia

If you need some music to boost your confidence, or just to dance along to, listen to Princess Nokia. The American rapper has a unique voice (which can sound very different from song to song) and talks about herself and her life in a candid way in all her songs. She seems to do what she wants, and it’s working out for her. Tomboy is one of her most popular songs, and will give you an idea of what she’s like.

Brooke Candy

Brooke Candy looks and sounds unique. Sia loves her (she’s actually kind of her mentor), so you should too. Brooke is also idolised by the gay community, and it’s clear she takes inspiration from drag queens with her makeup looks. And Brooke Candy is her real name, so you know she was born to be a star. Music wise, her song Nasty is a jam, and there’s nothing better than hearing her refer to a guy as hoe.

Are you a fan of any of these artists? And is there anyone you think should be on the list? Let us know.

Netflix Flops: Should You Watch “Don’t Watch This”?

What is it with the human brain and the compulsion of doing something when you’ve been specifically told not to? That’s exactly what I did when I saw Don’t Watch This on NetflixI clicked on it almost immediately.

Now, looking back, maybe I should’ve taken it seriously.

Ghouls, psychos and dark obsessions are the protagonists on Netflix’s brand new horror anthology, Don’t Watch This. It was created as a collaboration between Netflix, Crypt TV and Queer Eye’s executive producers. Good combo, right?

I was more than excited when I read the loglines for the episodes, which don’t have anything in commonnot the theme, not the length, nor the atmosphere. Still, I had been proven before that horror anthologies could, in fact, work.

Unfortunately, what I was served wasn’t much more than another XX or ABC’s of Death.

It pains me to say this but Don’t Watch This failed to bring originality, scares and overall entertainment.

Perhaps the lack of common denominator is what caused the anthology to collapseit didn’t have any grounds to stand on. In spite of all the bad, it has its good sides. I really enjoyed two shorts: Incommodum, the third one, and Antoni Psycho, the last one.

Incommodum is an experimental short, with no conventional narrative; therefore all of our need of clear storyline and resolution should be thrown out of the window when watching it. It shows distorted images of “ominous symbols, bodily horrors and other frights [that] converge in a surreal nightmare that’s not for the squeamish”, as one of the producers kindly wrote.

The last one is an homage to Mary Harron’s iconic American Psycho. In this short, Antoni Porowski, one of the fab five from Queer Eye appears as himself in a parody that feeds from American Psycho and the personality’s fame after the success of Queer Eye.

Its style and tone are perfectly copied from Harron’s feature, as it shows a duplicate from the opening scene where Christian Bale’s character gets ready for his day, voicing his day-to-day routines. Both in the feature and in the short, the voice-over is as painfully boring as it is important for the character development. Although the protagonist on the short film is a real person, both versions explore the absurd of human vanity.

As I mentioned before, Don’t Watch This is not Netflix’s best, but it is worth a watchdespite its namefor its novelty. It is Netflix’s first attempt to swim in uncharted waters and even betterit is really, really short!

Queer Christianity: Finding Acceptance in a Conservative America

I am an American. I am a lifelong, believing Christian. And this September, I came out as pansexual.

The three of these identifiers do not often mix well, and I find myself often facing crossroads—do I stay in the closet around my Christian friends? Do I hide my religious identity around my queer friends?

More often than not, I just stay quiet—which is pretty sad, truth be told. But, in the current political climate of America, who wants to out themselves?

When I finally came to terms with my sexuality, I was at “the world’s largest Christian university” in Virginia. I was surrounded by southern, conservative peers who would sneer that the “homosexuals” are going to hell.

That’s when the panic set in. How do you justify your sexuality with your religion, if everyone says your religion hates queer people? I knew I was still a Christian, and I could never stop believing in God and Jesus, but I felt lost.

“If God hates queer people”, I wondered, “why would He make me like this? God doesn’t make mistakes, does He?”

This fear and confusion is, unfortunately, not unique to my experience. Alex Burchnell, who runs the Twitter @AlexChrisQCFV (Queer Christian Family Values) with his husband, Chris, in the American south, has experienced similar feelings in his Christian walk.

“I never questioned my identity in Christ until I came out in my first year of college,” Alex said. “I saw how the church turned on those in the LGBTQ community and started questioning if I would believe in a God who would allow this.”

Like Alex, I was also angry and confused. I had a hard time separating the behaviour of Christians from the God they worshipped.

“It wasn’t until I met other Christians who showed me that there were people who weren’t bigoted and still believed strongly in Christ,” Alex said. “I started reading more about the life of Jesus and learning for myself rather than relying on what others told me.”

This was an important step in my own reconciliation of sexuality—inputting Bible verses into different translations, crying on the shoulders of my Christian friends who embraced me wholeheartedly, and remembering what it was about God that made me love Him in the first place.

When I came out to friends, I had a mostly positive reaction (after all, I chose good friends) but my family found themselves angry and hurt. When the reactions aren’t as positive as a queer Christian would hope for, Chris has advice for them.

“It doesn’t matter what you do or who you are attracted to, God is love, and His love is infinite,”  said Chris. “Even if you have to hide it for a while, there is no reason you can’t be a queer Christian. There are others out there, so you’re not alone. God isn’t the issue, it’s the people who claim to follow Him. God is acceptance. People are conditional.”

Ultimately, your religion can go hand-in-hand with your sexuality. There is no way to “pray away” your feelings (trust me, most of us have tried). No amount of hellfire-and-brimstone sermons will spook your queerness out of your soul.

God loves us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

If you’re a queer Christian looking for support, I recommend the #FaithfullyLGBT tag on Twitter to link up with queer theologians, pastors and believers who can share their advice.

The 5 Most Problematic Christmas Songs

I love the holidays. Honestly, probably more than the average person—the food, the family, the festivities; it’s all so dreamy and magical.

I’m also a huge fan of Christmas music. Year after year, I listen to the same Christmas soundtrack because it really gets me in the Christmas spirit.

However, this year, I’ve really started to listen to the lyrics of these songs and have realised something:

Some Christmas music is super problematic.

I’ve curated a list of the 5 most problematic Christmas songs and the reasons they make the holidays a little bit less jolly. I will be rating the problematic nature of these songs on a scale of 1-5 Santa heads.

1. Santa Buddy: Michael Bublé, 2011

Alright, Michael. We get it: no homo. Michael Bublé’s male-centric rewrite of the classic Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” changes the words in such a way that we couldn’t possibly think he was looking at Santa in an erotic way.

He does so by making Santa his buddy, his pally, his poppy (?) instead of his baby, by asking for a ‘65 convertible in a very masculine STEEL blue and not the original light blue, by requesting “Canucks tix” (aka, hockey tickets) because he is A Man Who Likes Sports and Don’t You Forget It. However, he still asks for Santa to come and “trim [his] Christmas tree”. Hmm….

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2. Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Dean Martin, 1953

If you were to name one particularly controversial Christmas song, it would be this one. It’s fun, catchy, and it’s been around for decades, but it’s highly problematic. It tells the story of a woman who has spent an evening with a man, but he begs her to stay as she attempts to convince him that she needs to leave.

But what is this song really about? While the lyrics play it off as a cutesy and flirty hard-to-get situation, what the song is really doing is perpetuating rape culture. With lyrics like “I simply must go,” “The answer is no,” and “Say, what’s in this drink?”, this song is actually quite problematic in its dismissive qualities of a woman attempting to remove herself from an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation.

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3. Do They Know It’s Christmas? 1984; 2014

It’d be easy to blame this song on simply being a symptom of the time it was releasedin 1984, speaking about starving Africans was actually quite forward thinking and woke.

But in 2014? A resung version starring big names like One Direction, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, and so many more? In 2014, should we still be perpetuating the idea that everyone in “Africa” (where, specifically. Africa is large and is made up of over 50 countries) is starving? The original hasn’t aged well, and the 2014 version really just shouldn’t exist.

Thank you for trying to raise awareness, Band Aid. Thank you for raising money for Ebola prevention. But lyrics like “Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow” isn’t necessarily accurate depiction of the entire continent of Africa.

“Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?” Yes, probably.

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4. Never Do a Tango with an Eskimo: 1955

According to this 1955 Christmas song by Alma Cogan, one must never dance with an Eskimo for several reasons, the main ones being that “once those Eskimoses start to wiggle with their toeses, you can bet your life you’re gonna get a chill,” and also that “once an Eskimosee starts to cuddle up so cozy, you’ll find your passion cooling, yes sirree.”

Good to know. But don’t worry, she does give us plenty of other races that we can dance with, such as “a Latin”, “a gaucho” or “an Apache.”

I have several questions. Why is Cogan picking on Eskimos? Why is this considered a Christmas song? Why does this song exist at all? Can we stop perpetuating negative stereotypes about entire demographics, please?

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5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: Michael Jackson version; 1970

Nothing says Christmas like infidelity! According to the song, a young Michael Jackson sneaks downstairs only to find his mother kissing Santa Claus, but no one believes that Jackson actually saw this happen.

While some people believe the song is about the mother cheating on her husband with Santa, others see it a bit more innocently; perhaps Santa IS dad, and mommy is simply kissing her Santa-suited husband. Either way, it’s caused some controversy among Christmas listeners. What do YOU think the song is about?

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Did we miss your least-favourite Christmas song? Let us know in the comments!

 

California Wildfires Continue to Displace Families Amidst Aftermath

This November, California witnessed their biggest fire season in recent years. Over the course of three weeks, the golden state fought against three major fires that tore through the northern and southern regions.

The horrifying three weeks started on Thursday 8 November, in Northern California with the “Camp Fire”. It is considered the deadliest fire in United States’ history – with the death toll currently at 88 people.

The prolific fire started in Butte County and then made its way to the town of Paradise.

Paradise has suffered the most destruction, with a majority of it being consumed by the blaze. Over 153,336 acres were demolished.

Down in southern California, the Woolsey Fire and Hill Fire also ignited on 8 November. Collectively, the fires burned through 250,285 acres of land and have caused three deaths.

Brandon Rista of Newbury Park, California, discussed the life-threatening experience he endured during the height of the Woolsey and Hill Fire.

“My family was evacuated for a night at an evacuation centre because all of the hotels in town were booked,” Rista said. “All of the freeways were blocked off, so it felt like we were trapped in our town for the night. My neighbourhood ended up being fine in the end, but there were people I knew who weren’t so lucky.”

The fires have destroyed more 20,297 buildings including residences, commercial buildings and structures.

Many citizens of Paradise, Malibu, Thousand Oaks and surrounding areas are homeless, including some of Hollywood’s most beloved household names. Miley Cyrus, Gerald Butler, and Robin Thicke are just a few of the many to have lost their homes to the out-of-control carnage.

Currently, the fires are 100% contained, but the aftermath has left an undeniable mark throughout the golden state.

Hazardous waste clean-up will be starting within these upcoming days, with Paradise, California seeing treatment first.

Along with a state-wide clean up, over 1,000 breweries across the U.S., including Sierra Nevada Brewing, have come together to brew and sell a special beer named “Resilience Butte County Proud IPA” in efforts to raise funds to assist in helping the “Camp Fire” victims and cities.